Viviscal campaign alleviates hair loss stigma

Hair growth supplements company Viviscal and CRT/tanaka drove hair health discussion last year to broaden awareness and use.

Client: Viviscal (Chicago, IL)
Agency: CRT/tanaka (Los Angeles and New York)
Campaign: Bringing Awareness to Women's Hair Thinning & Hair Loss
Duration: January - October 2012
Budget: $64,000

Viviscal hair growth supplements have been available in the US for about eight years, and VP of PR and marketing Kristie Kederis says the product has a cult following among hair and beauty professionals, models, and celebrities. Viviscal and CRT/tanaka, its AOR since 2011, drove hair health discussion last year to broaden awareness and use.

“Women's hair loss has long been a taboo subject,” Kederis explains. “We wanted to break that stigma, let women know they're not alone...and provide information about solutions - one of which is Viviscal.”

Beauty and health experts, recruited as brand ambassadors, spoke to media and bloggers and attended events. Survey findings, a consumer contest, and social media engagement also drove awareness.

“We addressed the issue of already thinning hair and the preventative side by focusing on how to keep hair healthy,” says CRT/tanaka VP Marcy Walsh. “Brand ambassadors who addressed the health side have personally experienced hair loss [so they] could authentically deliver the ‘you're not alone' message, speak to the emotional side, and discuss solutions.”

Dermatologists Doris Day and Glynis Ablon, as well as Laura Berman, LCSW, PhD, and former Real Housewives of NYC's Jill Zarin served as ambassadors. Hairstylist ambassadors included Tabatha Coffey, Oscar Blandi, Martino Cartier, Orlando Pita, and David Babaii. Coffey, Berman, Zarin, and Day discussed personal hair loss experiences. Ablon and Day helped establish product efficacy and educate consumers.

A webinar was hosted with models and hairstylist ambassadors in conjunction with beauty trade publication Behind the Chair at the International Beauty Show in New York in April.

Ambassadors conducted media tours in LA in February and in New York in July and August (Hair Loss Awareness Month).

The agency created an infographic based on results of a June Facebook survey that revealed psychological effects of hair loss and thinning on 1,926 women. The infographic and broader survey results were used in outreach with Berman and on, Facebook, and Twitter.

Unprompted product mentions by celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon, were leveraged on Facebook and Twitter and in beauty media pitches.

Consumers who submitted personal hair loss stories on between July 1 and August 15 were eligible to win a trip to New York, an appointment with Blandi, and a year's supply of Viviscal. A different consumer story was featured on Viviscal's blog and Facebook and Twitter pages every day in August.

Kederis says revenue increased 28% during the week of the July media tour. The following week, sales jumped 42% above the average prior to the campaign, and maintained a 25% increase throughout August.

"We didn't run any ads, so it's all PR driven,” Kederis adds.

Eighty million impressions were garnered from more than 100 traditional media stories (the goal was 15 million impressions). Coverage highlights included The Dr. Oz Show and The View.

Thirty-six blog posts (260% above goal) appeared in outlets including Prevention magazine and MamaNYC.

Rebranding of Viviscal began in December. The team will promote new product launches and findings from an efficacy study this year.

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